Afflalo wanted that No. 1 option role so badly, and when he didn’t succeed in it, he didn’t take it especially well. So over the offseason, Afflalo evaluated his game with brutal honesty and he made a vow to himself to come back this season as a much more efficient and effective player.

``I just had some different things on my mind last year mentally, feeling like I had so much to prove. The situation was so fresh and I just wanted to take a hold of it so bad,’’ Afflalo remembered. ``This year I trained so hard to get my conditioning right. And all of the experiences that I had last year – handling double teams and having that pressure of being consistent – I took those things to heart. I prepared myself mentally and physically so that I could show up every night this season.’’

Afflalo has done so much more than just show up this season for the Magic (4-5). He is averaging career highs across the board in points (21.3 ppg.), rebounds (5.3 rpg.) and assists (4.9 apg.) and is shooting an eye-popping 52 percent from 3-point range. He authored the best game of his career in Wednesday’s defeat of the Milwaukee Bucks when he scored 36 points, made 11 of 15 shots and incredibly hit eight of 11 3-pointers. He almost single-handedly willed the Magic back into the game in the second half when he buried five 3-pointers in the third quarter alone and scored 29 points after intermission.

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